Do Not Rely on Other Conditions
The eleventh practice is especially rich. The commentator points out that we may need very specific conditions or external circumstances for other dharma practices. A paradigmatic example is the cultivation of meditative quiescence. Living in downtown New York, in an apartment full of kids and traffic noise, it is very, very hard to develop meditative quiescence. If we are living an active life, or in poor health, or very discouraged, it is difficult to reach meditative quiescence. Many causes and conditions, internal and external, must be brought together in order effectively to develop mental stabilization, and this is true of other practices as well.
But not the Mind Training. This practice comes into its own under precisely such unfavorable conditions. The point, of course, is the transformation of unfavorable circumstances into the path, so that they become aids to our spiritual practice. We don't need to save up our money for a one-year retreat to do the Mind Training. We don't need a special retreat facility. We don't need a teacher on hand at all times. We don't even need good health, let alone abundant food, lovely surroundings, and companions. All these things help, but we can implement the Mind Training in the broadest spectrum of circumstances, without waiting. There is no ground for procrastination in this practice, no way to ever say, "I really want to practice Mind Training, but first of all I have to. . . ." All circumstances nurture this practice.
Excerpted from: The Seven-Point Mind Training(first published as A Passage from Solitude : Training the Mind in a Life Embracing the World), by B. Alan Wallace.